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Finding Aid to the Fred Parris Collection on Virginia Gay and Lesbian Rights Organizations Coll2014.102
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The collection contains materials from the Virginia Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1977-1980, and the Virginia Gay Alliance, 1983. The documents include fliers, meeting information, and minutes of the Virginia Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The collection also contains clippings, Parris' correspondence concerning gay and lesbian rights, and a packet of materials from the Virginia Gay Alliance conference, October 15-16, 1983. Fred Parris was a freelance writer for the Washington Blade and may be best known for his articles written during the mid-1980s calling attention to gay teen suicide.
Frederick Walter Parris was born November 12, 1948 in Manhattan, Kansas. In 1970 he graduated from Kansas University with a degree in journalism. While writing for the University Daily Kansan he received the William Allen White Award for excellence in feature writing. After earning his master's degree from Kansas’s Emporia University in library science, he was employed by the Memphis Public Library system. While in Memphis he was the news editor for a local gay and lesbian newspaper, Gaiety. In 1976 Parris relocated to suburban Washington, D.C. and became active in the gay and lesbian rights movement, and a number of other progressive causes. He was a freelance writer for the Washington Blade through the 1980s. Parris' articles during the mid-1980s on gay teen suicide have been credited with bringing attention to the crisis. In 1989, he took a position with the Houston Public Library, where he served in a number of capacities until his retirement in 2008. He died of congestive heart failure in March 2011.
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